During the 2022 general election, Firefighters and EMS Fund tested its singular capability to turn out voters in support of Pro-Fire and EMS politicians and encourage them to support ballot measures that will benefit their local fire departments. We chose to engage citizens who did not vote in recent elections, indicating those voters were under-served advertisements that spoke to their values. These voters were uniquely and individually identified as having a propensity to support their local fire department, and were encouraged to show up on election day via SMS, Email, and on Social Media sites like Facebook and Youtube. Read on to learn more about our 2022 General Election Impact.
Fire department ballot measures were targeted in four cities around the US: Oswego, Illinois; Strongsville, Ohio; Marion, Ohio; and Oak Harbor, Washington.
In Oswego, the fire district requested that a levy which was defeated in June of 2022 be placed on the ballot once more. We at Firefighters and EMS Fund hoped this would be an easy win for the Oswego Fire Protection District given that it was defeated in June by a margin of a single vote. Unfortunately, Oswego voters rejected the proposed tax increase that would have supported increased demand on emergency services that has been driven by population growth. This measure was defeated 10,690 “No” votes to 9,384 “Yes” votes.
Our Impact: We targeted 24,926 pro-tax, pro-public safety individuals who do not vote in Midterm elections.
Of the 24,926 we targeted, 5,854 turned out in 2022 . Unfortunately, the local fire department was unable to overcome community opposition to the measure, and due to the regularly scheduled voting date, turnout in opposition was also higher and the measure failed by a larger margin than before.
In Strongsville, a levy known as Issue 88 was placed on the ballot to support wages and station upkeep, generating around $2.2 million per year. The levy passed by a margin of 6,732 votes or 68%.
In Marion, a levy was placed on the ballot to help replace a fire station that has been outgrown by the department, modernize another, and place heavy equipment on a replacement cycle. The levy will generate $1.08 million annually and was passed with 4,155 “Yes” votes and 3,038 “No” votes.
Our Impact: We targeted 24,211 pro-tax Strongsville and Marion residents who did not vote in the 2018 midterm, of which 5,677 turned out in 2022. Fortunately both ballot measures passed confidently.
In Oak Harbor, a referendum was held to raise funds supporting the Fire Department’s ability to hire new staff, purchase more equipment, and build a new station.
A 60%+ supermajority was required for the bonds to pass. The first bond for the levy lid lift passed with just enough votes at 60.86%- this was intended to cover operating expenses at a new fire station as well as support replacement of a 24 year old engine and old PPE.
The second bond- a general obligation bond for station, staffing, and equipment passed with 62.22% voting “Yes”. The Fire Chief states that the department will begin hiring new firefighters in 2023, replacing equipment in 2023-2024, and building its new fire station within two years
Our Impact: We targeted 10,800 pro-tax Oak Harbor residents who did not vote in the 2018 midterm. Of which, 3,501 turned out in 2022.
In all, Firefighters and EMS Fund targeted 59,937 voters who did not vote in 2018, of which- 15,032 responded to our calls to action. Considering the margins by which the measures above passed or failed, it is evident that our ability to impact these elections is sufficient to drive meaningful change at the ballot box. We are proud of the positive impact we had on fire departments during the 2022 General Election season and are grateful for the continued opportunity to support pro-fire and EMS politicians, firefighters, and departments around the country.
Q: Why release these results now?
Firefighters and EMS Fund obtained voter data on individual voters from public databases. These databases do not share how (or for whom) a person votes, but whether or not a person showed up to the polls to cast their ballot. It takes several months for these databases to update and for that information to be collected and processed for organizations like ours for us to truly see our impact!
Want to read more about what Firefighters and EMS Fund accomplished in 2022? Read our 2022 Executive Director’s Report